Sunday, June 5, 2011

Zuma's Revemge

The ribbeting sequel to the ball-blasting classic!

Enter an all-new world of Zuma where evil tiki bosses rule the land! Conquer over 60 levels by firing stone spheres to make matches and destroy the deadly stream of balls, then take on six tiki boss battles and guide your agile amphibian to victory!

Leap into action in four game modes with explosive new features and amazing new gameplay: Slide and hop for smarter shots, hit targets for exotic bonuses, and detonate new power-up balls! Will you succumb to the perilous pitfalls, or can you tame the jungle in this PopCap ball-blasting challenge?

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PopCap Games’ niche of delivering simple yet stylistic and entertaining games is truly amazing. Rolling off a profound success with Plants vs. Zombies and a handful of other little jazzy titles, it’s not surprising that PopCap Games is the leading developer and publisher for the casual game market.

Their latest creation, Zuma’s Revenge, reinvents the wheel with a ball-blasting adventure. With numerous levels to explore, various bosses to defeat, numerous power ups, and a handful of modes to test your skills, you’ll be stuck to your computer like spilled Pepsi on a movie theater aisle. Read on to find out more.

Players assume the role of a ball-blasting frog who is stuck in a terrible storm aboard a makeshift raft. Our hero finds himself washed ashore upon a Polynesian paradise called Zhaka Mu, where he runs into six different evil tiki bosses who each want to eat him for dinner. In an attempt to stay alive, players have to battle through 60 levels of ball-breaking fun.

Story aside, the object of the game is to prevent an advancing chain of multi-color balls from making it to a specific point on a map. To break these balls, you have to match at least three of them together, which set off an explosion and earn the player points. Points earned in a level fill a tiki vial; once the vial is full, the endless supply of balls stop coming, and it is your duty to destroy the remaining spheres. Once all the spheres are destroyed, you’re either allowed to move to the next level or prepare for battle against one of the tiki bosses.

Most of the time, the game positions a player in a set spot, where s/he has to rotate in different directions to get a clear shot. To change up the style of play, the developers have implemented different strategies throughout each stage.

For example, on a couple of different levels, players will have to leap frog between two different platforms trying to change angles and get open looks. Being allowed to move to different points on the map drastically changes your strategies while keeping the game fun and refreshing.

Similarly, the tiki boss fights are the most exciting experience. Bosses have a set amount of health where players have to land direct hits in order to deplete their life bars. Between the boss and you is the winding trail of balls. Players have to create open gaps in the chain in order to get open shots. All the while, the tiki bosses will shoot a projectile at you, which will have a negative effect on your performance if hit by it.

Once a player has completed the adventure, there are several other modes that open up. There is a survival mode where players have to fight through numerous levels without dying; there are a handful of unlockable challenges where players have to complete a certain criteria in order to advance. And also, there is a heroic mode where players can play the adventure on the highest difficulty. The combination of it all provides a thoughtful and entertaining experience.

Graphically, the game is very aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The lush environments, the bright colors, the 3D atmospheres and all the power up effects deliver a game that is outstanding in visuals.

While the graphics are outstanding, the sound serves its purpose. When the chain approaches its end point, there is a faint heart beat that begins to beat faster and faster signaling your impending doom. Similarly, the clad sound of the balls colliding into one another and acquiring power ups deliver unique chimes and whistles. One thing I would have liked to hear is a quirky, catchy song that is unique to the game (similar to “There’s a Zombie on Your Lawn” in Plants vs. Zombies).

All in all, the game is challenging as well as entertaining. The hardcore PC gamer may be turned off to its simplicity, but the casual gamer and players of all ages will defiantly find that there is no shortage of play here. At $19.99 via Steam, it’s a great investment, and in my opinion, PopCap Games has made itself into a reliable development company that only delivers high quality titles.



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